A/N: Okay, chapter 1 of the sequel to The Crucible! Who's as excited as I am? –looks around- oookaaaay. Well, anyway…this takes place just about thirteen years or so after the end of The Crucible, so the twins are fourteen. Hmmm….now what happened, again, when Elphaba's child(ren) was (were) fourteen?
Also, who can tell me what the significance of the school is?
Disclaimer: Not mine.
It took until I was fourteen for me to realize my parents and my brother and I were, well, different. Especially my mother and I.
I grew up in my father's castle. He's a prince, but surprisingly that means little. When I was young, though, we lived in the Emerald City with my aunt Glinda. She's not really my aunt, as anyone could tell. My real aunt, my mother's sister Nessarose, died a few days ago. A house fell on her. My mother made a smart remark when she got the letter, but her face went all tight and we knew she didn't mean it. With her, you have to not only know her very well to understand her but also know when to ignore what she says in order to tell what she really means, and even then sometimes it's impossible.
My father wrapped his arm around her and she leaned into him.
"It's my fault," she said, "I shouldn't have left her to do my job, all those years ago."
"Ssh," he told her. I looked at my twin brother Liir and he shrugged back. We had no idea what she was talking about. But that happens a lot- she doesn't talk about certain things. Her family, a lot of our time in the City- why we left, abruptly, one day when I was not yet two. I remember, though. My father says my linguistic ability- while I didn't speak early, once I did it was very soon in sentences- is probably why I can remember so far back.
My mother and I are green. I never found anything amiss about that- in the City, I had a child's obliviousness to differences and didn't leave the safe confines of Glinda's home and garden all that much besides. Ariana, Liir, and later Glinda's second daughter Ilyana were the only playmates I needed, even here, after we left, when they visited every summer and sometimes during the year, depending on how tolerant of her husband Aunt Glinda is at the moment and on how important she currently considers Ariana's and Ilyana's schooling at Madame Teastane's Female Seminary to be. There's something else my mother keeps to herself- whenever she hears the name of the Chuffrey girls' school, her mouth tightens and her eyes turn inward and she looks at Father with an inscrutable, intense expression and stays silent, uncharacteristically. But, as Mother often says after she has recovered from whatever memory the school's name, the girls could probably get a better education here, from her, than at that "pudding factory," as she disdainfully calls it with a small downturning of the corners of her lips. Ariana agrees and has apparently repeated the remark to her headmistress and it took all of Chuffrey's influence to keep her from getting expelled, according to Glinda, chiding my mother when she arrived here with her daughters in tow a week ago, before leaving again without them, "just to Munchkinland, for a few days. I need a break!". Ari has always given Aunt Glinda fits. Aunt Glinda describes her as acting like Mother, but she's less studious and intense than simply unconventional. To put it simply, she's a tomboy where my mother is an activist. Ariana wants to be an explorer, and delights in coming here, where the terrain is relatively uninhabited and society's rules do not apply in the least. I want to be just like Mother, and fight against injustice. She still does, you know. I help her, even now. I print and even write articles for the subversive newspaper she's begun, and also, when she receives, somehow, urgent letters, I help her go out to take in Animals or other rebels until they can move on, until they are forgotten by the Gale Force in the City and can return or find somewhere else safe to go. Liir takes no interest in subversion, just in fear for its consequences. He's always having minor panic attacks about it- he lacks even the slightest sense of adventure, does my brother.
"I'll have to go to the funeral," said Mother at last, pulling away from Father and running her elegant hands through her long dark hair. It's darker than mine by just a little, and my skin's a lighter green, too. Aunt Glinda once put some of her powder on my face so I could see what I looked like as just myself, without the green. Mother didn't know. She'd probably have gone into a rage if she had. She does that a lot. I do it less, but sometimes I can't help myself. Father and Liir are much more even-tempered than Mother or I.
My parents still make love and they're not exactly quiet about it either. I'm frankly quite surprised they haven't had another child, but maybe that's another of Mother's secrets.
"She carried and bore you two in prison, being tortured and constantly frightened that they would make her miscarry, or would kill you," said Aunt Glinda. "You've been used as leverage against her before, you know. Maybe she just doesn't want to take that risk again." Here she had paused in her telling and made a pouty little frown with her painted lips, all acting and flirtation, the polar opposite of my firmly real, intense mother. "In fact, I'm not even sure if she uses birth control or not. I do believe Elphie's force of will could be that strong." This was obviously calculated to shock me. Glinda does that sometimes, saying things for their shock value. She's learned it from my mother but she's nowhere near as good at it, since my mother's are far less calculated. She just does shock people, from her skin to her thoughts to her past. She can't help it, unlike Aunt Glinda who does it to be entertaining.
My parents had what Ilyana, who inherited her mother's propensity for gossip and sensation, would call a 'glamorous' relationship. When she hears Ilyana say this, my mother's lips curl faintly upward and she says lightly, or as lightly as she ever says anything, "If you call a dismal rented room and nearly no food glamorous, of course," before she leaves to go do something else. It was an affair, that's what Ilyana means, but as my mother believes in frankness with children, Liir and I don't regard the story as spectacular and never have. The story of my mother's pregnancy in prison and of my early childhood I do find extraordinary, though. Ari seems to think that men and marriage and pregnancy spell the end of adventure in any form, but as argument I merely point to my mother. She carried twins through torture at the hands of her own father and never once gave in. Minutes after our birth, she even threatened him with a scalpel and then walked miles upon miles to her childhood home while bleeding out vaginally. Then, she and Father went back to prison not three minutes after they finally married, after which she flew them out of prison on a broomstick. She maintains, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that she's not a witch, but I don't believe her.
I am one, too. I get visions in her old glass and I can fly the broom and read Liir's mind, though that last could be just a twin thing.
Ari always wishes our mother was hers, to which Ilyana replies that at least she was conceived in a 'glamorous relationship' and her father was at least a spy. Ilyana herself is the daughter of Glinda's "pompous jackass" (my mother's term) husband Sir Chuffrey. Ari's the earlier product of her mother's affair with a Palace spy whose ass- or nose- my mother kicked on several occasions.
Like I said, she believes in frankness and honesty with children.
But she doesn't necessarily care for it with adults.
"We're coming with you," my father said of Aunt Nessarose's funeral.
"Fine," said Elphaba my mother.
And so it began.